The Friday Nooner: David Gardner Talks VC Investing, Move To Durham

This week, the GrepBeat team was joined by David Gardner, general partner at Cary’s Cofounders Capital, a founder or co-founder of lucky-number-seven successful startups and an angel investor in Cary’s Fortnight Brewing Company, among many other things.

Before David joined, the GrepBeat trio talked about why Pete and Jackie, respectively, are waking up at 5 a.m.—Jackie is waking up for hot yoga in Raleigh, Pete is waking up to run and Joe had no comment as to whether or not he was still asleep. [Editor’s Note: Pete wants noted for the record that while Jackie only recently started getting up at 5 a.m. one morning a week, Pete does so on most weekdays.]

Joe discussed his family’s gift of $1.5M to the North Carolina School of Science and Math to foster entrepreneurship and rattled off a slew of high-profile NCSSM graduates in the local tech scene, including former GrepBeat intern Ximena Colopy.

Here are a few more highlights:

  • David and Joe talk transitioning from a founder to an investor, and the different skill sets that even an experienced entrepreneur must develop when making that transition. Gardner talked about learning how to manage companies as an investor, even companies that seem like sure bets, and Joe relayed the importance of finding founders you can trust. They agreed that the founders are more important than the idea. As Gardner put it, “A great entrepreneur with an O.K. idea will always make you more money than an O.K. entrepreneur with a great idea.”
  • The group sings the praises of ArchiveSocial founder Anil Chawla (a frequent GrepBeat story subject) as an aforementioned great entrepreneur (who had a great idea), and sends out well wishes to Chawla’s wife, who unfortunately shattered her ankle on their absurdly heavy front door. Stay strong, Mrs. Chawla!
  • Two nuggets of advice for entrepreneurs seeking funding from Cofounders. Gardner recommends reaching out to himself, Tim McLoughlin or Tobi Walters directly via email; and Cofounders is expanding its reach from B2B startups in North Carolina to B2B startups across the Southeast. Serving an under-served market (specifically the Triangle and North Carolina) is of great importance to Gardner and Cofounders, which is why he’s staying in Durham once he leaves Cary. In fact he’s buying a penthouse condo in the high-rise that’s being constructed at the location of GrepBeat’s former HQ, 400 W Main St in downtown Durham (the former South Bank building).

You can watch the full episode on LinkedIn here or Facebook here.

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